AYP Participant Spotlight: Melis

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Below is a letter from one of our German students from CHI partner organization, TASTE. Melis is currently an Academic Year Program participant in Washington State. The letter was originally written in German and sent to TASTE.  With Melis permission we have translated it into English and are excited to share it. Please enjoy!

Hello dear Tasties or whoever you are!

I have been here for approximately six weeks and it is simply wonderful! Definitely very different, but in any case it is a cool feeling to finally be in the U.S. The flight with the other Tasties was nice, but it AYP Participant Spotlight: Melis 1did become boring after a few hours. During the flight from Paris to Seattle, I sat beside a boy and only realized after five hours that we were both German! Until then we had been speaking in English, which isn’t bad! He was also doing a year abroad, close to me, but with a different organization. We had a great conversation the whole time and drew pictures of the beautiful landscape that we could see out of our window. As we flew lower, we could finally catch a glimpse Seattle and Mount Rainier. It is massive! At the airport, we had to first go through immigration and then we could get our baggage. I was nicely greeted by my AC with a “Welcome to America Melis” sign. I stayed the first ten days with her as my host family was still on vacation, visiting family in Europe. My AC is very nice and we drove to her home in a large green truck. Everything is so big here! I think every second American must drive a truck!

The first few nights, I was homesick and I couldn’t imagine spending ten months here in the U.S, without seeing my family. But then it went away. The first ten days with my AC were great, she showed me everything and almost every day we visited other exchange students, so I’ve heard the rules eleven times and shouldn’t break even one this year!

We registered at my school (GO VIKES!!!) and for the Cross Country team. I have practice every day other than Sunday and it is simply fabulous! Everyone on my team is very nice and I get to play sports!!! By the way, in contrast to what everyone says, I’ve lost four kilograms since I arrived.

And then I finally came to my host family. Previously, I had concerns that my little host siblings would be a bit shy at the beginning, but they weren’t at all. They are so open and loving and simply fabulous and my host parents as well! The first day I did unfortunately suffer a bit of homesickness, as everything was new again, but I don’t suffer from it anymore. I love it here! They are so nice and helpful and I get along with them so well, that I feel as if I’ve known them forever.

The school here is so brilliant. So simple! I have Team Sports (that’s like regular sports class in Germany), American Studies (very interesting), Sophomore English, Pre-Calculus, French IV (my absolute favorite course, as there are only five students and it is an independent study course so we sit on the floor, eating pizza and talking), and Stagecraft (that is also very fun!). In each course, I have someone whom I always hang out with and we have a lot of fun together.

The time here goes by very quickly, I always have something to do and I can’t believe that I’ve been here for over a month. It is rather strange how I’ve fallen into the new language so easily. I have been thinking in English since the first day I arrived and when I Skype with my parents (which I’ve only done three times!!), I often can’t find the right German words and sometimes I simply can’t finish a sentence.

I have experienced so many wonderful things while here, that I simply can’t list them all here and would probably forget half of them. It is just gorgeous here and so much fun.

Thanks TASTE, for having such a wonderful partner organization here, who found me such a fabulous family in such a great area, and thank you for the great time that I have had up until now and that I will surely have from now on.

Lots of greetings from the Evergreen State!

– Melis

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